PBA: Return to Northport a positive turn for Nabong after overstaying SMB welcome
Paul Kennedy Lintag on Jul 01, 2020 11:58 AM
"But on the bright side, I'll still be able to play basketball professionally and I'm still in the PBA. I'm on a team that I know, that's the best out of a worse situation that I can get." — Kelly Nabong on his trade back to the Batang Pier.
Even after winning two PBA championships with the Beermen, it appeared that Kelly Nabong overstayed his welcome at San Miguel Beer.
Late in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup, Nabong, along with Arwind Santos, Ronald Tubid, and import Dez Wells figured in a practice fight, leading to the indefinite suspension by all three locals.
Soon enough, Wells left for China while Tubid was released. Arwind was the only one to return to the Beermen.
Nabong was traded back to Northport, the team he played for before he was acquired by San Miguel in 2018.
"I mean, it was a tough situation because San Miguel is a great team, great company and all that. It was a bad situation to be in," Nabong told Rain or Shine's Beau Belga on Extra Rice.
"But on the bright side, I'll still be able to play basketball professionally and I'm still in the PBA. I'm on a team that I know, that's the best out of a worse situation that I can get," he added.
While the Batang Pier squad that Nabong returns to looks familiar, some good upgrades are now on the team.
Head coach Pido Jarencio and veteran forward Sean Anthony are still there but Northport has since added key guys like Christian Standhardinger, Robert Bolick, and Kevin Ferrer to the mix.
Fresh from a breakthrough semifinals in the 2019 Governors' Cup, expectations are higher for the Batang Pier the next time they take the court.
"You can expect a lot from us. We got a young core and guys are really hungry. We wanna prove ourselves out there," Nabong said.
"We got a lot of good vets in Sean, Christian is there. Coach Pido, that's a great coach. He can handle all of our personalities and still come out with a good game plan for us to execute. Last conference they made it to the semis right? The goal is to the the semis and push past that," he added.
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